Lulu Bell and the Birthday Unicorn by Belinda Murrell and illustrated by Serena Geddes, paperback chapter book, 86 pages, published by Random House Australia in 2013.
Meet Lulu Bell, a great big sister to Rosie and Gus, best friend to Molly and daughter of the local vet. During the preparations for Rosie’s mermaid themed birthday party, their Dad is called out to capture an escaped pony before it can get hurt. Until its owners can be found, the pony is placed in Lulu’s backyard, where the party is soon to be held. Unfortunately the pony gets up to some mischief, upsetting Rosie. Luckily Lulu has an idea that will help to make Rosie’s party the best ever.
A simple story of family, friends and fun, this chapter book captivated my kindergartner. She enjoyed the storyline, and identified with the family, which were very realistic. She liked the way Gus spoke, and called himself “Bug Boy” and the way that Rosie and Lulu interacted as sisters. The idea of a mermaid party was quite appealing to her also!
For self reading, Lulu Bell and the Birthday Unicorn, would suit a slightly more confident reader than one just starting chapter books. While the chapters were reasonably short, and the black and white illustrations frequent, there is more depth to this story than is usually seen in a first chapter book. The language was very suitable for lower primary school children, and the story easy enough to follow. I read this one to my kindergartner as she’s not yet onto chapter books, and she has already asked for more Lulu Bell!